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Archive for November, 2020

Filing a Lawsuit Instead of a Workers’ Comp Claim

Every state provides for “workers’ compensation,” otherwise known as “worker’s comp” or, perhaps most accurately, “workers’ comp insurance” for workers who are injured on the job.

How Workers’ Comp Works

Workers’ comp insurance is designed to work like this: workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses receive workers’ comp benefits for things like medical expenses and lost wages. 

The good news for workers is that they are not required to show that their employer was at fault for their injuries; if they are hurt at work, they receive the benefits. The bad news for workers is that these workers’ comp benefits are their only remedy; in other words, they are not allowed to sue their employer for the injuries, even if the employer was indeed at fault. 

In some cases, this means they cannot collect money for damages like “punitive damages,” which could potentially add up to millions of dollars. In this way, workers’ comp insurance protects employers as well as employees. Nonetheless, this seemingly simple arrangement can be more complicated than it appears to be.

If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, let Lancaster hurt on the job lawyers help you with this important decision process.

When You Can Sue Your Employer

There are some limited circumstances under which you are allowed to bring a lawsuit against your employer for job-related injuries:

  • Intentional Employer Acts. You may be able to sue your employer for harm caused by their intentional acts if they have acted with the specific intent of harming you. For example, if your supervisor walks up behind you and pushes you down the stairs, this would likely be considered an intentional act meant to harm you. However, remember that showing mere negligence is not sufficient. The act must be deliberate. 
  • Your Employer Has No or Insufficient Workers’ Comp Insurance. Employers in almost all states are required to carry adequate workers’ comp insurance. If they do not,  you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover damages for your work-related injury or disease, even based on mere negligence.
  • Lawsuits Against Third Parties. In some cases, you may also be able to sue a third party other than your employer who is partially responsible for your injury. For example, suppose you suffer an injury at work caused by using a defective product. In that case, you might be able to sue the manufacturer of that product in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim. This may entitle you to more significant recovery amounts, including punitive damages.

Contact the Lancaster Hurt on the Job Lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC If You Have Been Hurt at Work

If you have been hurt at work, the Lancaster hurt on the job lawyers at Vanasse Law LLC will help you understand the current state of Pennsylvania law regarding workers’ comp, help you understand your options, and file any workers’ comp or legal claims on your behalf. 

Contact us online for a same-day response.

Choosing a Doctor for Worker’s Comp Claims

Workers’ compensation is designed to cover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for work-related injuries and/or illnesses, including doctors’ appointments, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, etc. 

Your treating doctor is a key player in your workers’ comp treatment, from your actual treatment to overseeing all of your medical care to giving opinions that will affect what treatments to which you are entitled. Therefore, it’s important to find a treating doctor you can trust. However, that search may be complicated by your particular state’s limits on doctor selection.

If you have been injured on the job in Pennsylvania, let a Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer help you with this important decision.

Selecting Your Treating Doctor

You should be careful when selecting the best treating doctor for you, even if you’re limited to a network or a list of physicians. To the extent you are allowed to choose your own doctor, consider:

  • The doctor’s willingness to work within the workers’ comp medical fee schedule
  • The doctor’s knowledge of the workers’ compensation claim process
  • The doctor’s willingness to support your workers’ comp claim with detailed reports
  • The doctor’s experience and understanding of your particular medical condition
  • The doctor’s availability for medical appointments
  • How comfortable you are with the doctor

Doctor Selection Rules in Pennsylvania

Typically, in Pennsylvania, you must see an approved doctor for the first 90 days of your treatment. Nonetheless, you are still allowed input on this decision. Employers generally have a panel of doctors posted at your worksite. If the posted panel has six or more doctors listed, you must see a doctor from that list for those initial 90 days after your injury.

The employer doctors must be qualified professionals licensed to practice medicine and provide reasonably competent treatment. If your employer does not have a panel of doctors posted anywhere at your job site, you can choose your own doctor from the beginning.

After the initial 90 days, you can choose your own doctor as long as you provide notice to the workers’ compensation insurer within five days of changing physicians. Keep in mind that there is some value in the continuity of your treatment, so, from a practical standpoint, you should only change doctors if you feel strongly that the change will benefit you.

Contact a Lancaster Workman’s Compensation Lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC for More Information

The workers’ comp process is complex, and selecting your treating doctor is a small but relatively important part of that process. 

A Lancaster workman’s compensation lawyer at Vanasse Law LLC will not only help you select your treating doctor but will also help you understand the current state of Pennsylvania law regarding workers’ comp. We will also help you explore your options, protect your rights and file any necessary claims on your behalf. Additionally, even if your injuries do not qualify for workers’ compensation, you may have other legal options.

If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, contact us online for a same-day response.